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Crowds: Laarni Part Three

Welcome all to Laarni part three, and thank you for choosing to spend your time here, with me, with Laarni, and in a day of her life! Enjoy!

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Ward seven of the Monash Medical Centre had been Laarni’s life for the past twelve years. Ward seven was the cancer ward and, as she sat in the tearoom before the beginning of her shift she reflected briefly on the memories that she had acquired here. The first time she was told that one of her patients had passed away out of her care: she was infant of the microwave, heating up her pasta for lunch. The time a pregnancy test told her that she was expecting: she was sitting on the second hand couch, daytime TV the soundtrack to her life-changing news. The sobering day that she left her husband: she sat in the very spot she was in now, her colleagues handed her tissues and gave reassuring words of advice over teacake and coffee.
The door opened and Sue, the A.N.U.M (Associated Unit Nursing Manager) came in. Sue was a big woman with an even bigger heart. She always knew exactly what to do for the patients, for the patients loved ones and the staff. She was the ward’s guardian angel.
“Laarni, luv,” she said with her thick Irish accent, “want ‘nother cupa tea, doya?”
“Oh, it’s alright, Sue. I start in five minutes.”
“T’at don matta, Laarni, come now.” Sue got out two mugs and began pouring the boiling water straight from the kettle. “We both know that you’ve got a long day an’ night ahead.”
Laarni had came to Sue a year ago and pleaded for more hours when she’d gotten a letter from the bank threatening to take her to court. Her income wasn’t enough to keep her house and home afloat, and with the lack of child support and the vicious never-ending virus of other bills that infected her mailbox, she needed a cure, a savior.
Sue was her savior.
“Thanks, Sue,” Laarni raised her cheeks up in appreciation. “I still don’t know how I was so lucky to have met you, or what I would have done without your help.”
“Oh, don’ be so kind,” Sue chuffed. “At thee en’ of tha day, you’re the one thas workin’ so hard. I just cross out a few names here, add your one there, then do tha payroll accounts an’ no one knows a thing. Two sugars, luv?”
“Yes please.”
“Jus’ a dash of milk?”
“Of course.”
There was a brief moment of peacefulness where the plastic seal on the fridge opened, milk dropped into hot tea, and the faint sounds of birds mixed with medical beeping filled the air. Sue sat opposite Laarni as late morning sunshine shone through the window.
“You look like you could ‘ave had the day off.” Sue placed the mug in front of her and put a hand on her arm. “You know our agreement now?”
“One year,” Laarni nodded. “It’s been one year.”
“The last double shift you’ll do is today,” Sue said, nodding back at her. “I know you need the money still, luv, so I could ask the girls around the ward and we could pull in all our extra funds an’—”
“No, no, “ Laarni dispatched that idea before even considering it an option. “I’ll figure out another way to get some income on the side.”
“My hands are tied, Laarni.” Sue curled her bottom lip. “I could barely watch you go through these shifts tha’ last couple’a months. You’ve got to think about your health, luv.”
“They’ll be nothing to think about if I don’t have a house to live in, Sue,” Laarni sighed before trying to smile. She recalled the last time she checked her back-balance, and the palpitations her heart had made upon seeing a minus before the amount caused her to fret all over again. “It’s all okay though. I can’t thank you enough for sacrificing your job just to give me more hours.”
“Hmmmm.” Sue did one of her squints that was both playful and full of honest intent. “Do you really want to keep working the double hours then?”
“It’s getting me by.” Laarni grasped her fingers tighter around the cup. “Without the hours I’ll be forced to give up our house, food, and all special things that I can give my kids now.” She watched Christmas turn into wrapped up baked beans under a pot plant, she saw the sadness in Gen’s and Jamie’s eye’s when she tells them that they have to move back to New Zealand to live with her parents. She felt her throat constrict.
“Now, you don’t worry at all,” Sue shook her finger. “They’ll be none of that. If you won’t accept our money then I’ll give you the extra hours on the side still.”
“Thank you,” Laarni whispered. “Thank you so much, Sue.”
“Well, Laarni luv, you’re not welcome,” Sue said playfully. “Jus’ finish ya’ cupa tea and I’ll cover you until you start, and,” she got up, “until you’re truly back on your feet.”

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  • Laarni’s story [Part Four] continues next Thursday [THUR/DEC/03].
  • This narrative was edited by my wonderful editor: Kayla Marie Murphy. Contact: kaylamariemurphy@hotmail.com for any inquiries.
  • Creative Credit for Laarni’s image goes to the wonderful and supremely talented Jinny Park, whose Instagram feed you can check out at: http://www.instagram.com/somethingpeach.
    Thank you so much Jinny for this wonderful collaboration!
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